How much longer will coal, gas and oil last?



  1. 0 Votes

    There are many factors to take into account answering this question. There is a difference between the time when there will be nothing left of a resource and the time when it becomes economically unfeasible to mine it. The latter will probably occur before the former, as trade and scarcity become large factors. Population and industrialization are also growing so rapidly that the amount consumed of a resource increases significantly every year. For example, it appears there are 253 years left of coal, but that figure is based on statistics taken in 2000. In 1988, there appeared to be 300 years left, and so on. Keeping this information in mind, the Potential Gas Committee said in 2009 that the U.S. has a minimum of 100 years left of natural gas from our own soil. As for oil, there are still trillions of barrels left. 

  2. 0 Votes

    The peak of production of a finite resource is the point where demand exceeds supply, and when half the resource has been produced. There are not “trillions” of barrels of oil left – the most rosy estimates suggest about 1.2 trillion, and it does not matter if all that is left, if we have already reached the peak of production (some say we have, and the greatest optimists now put it at about 2020). It means that the end of cheap oil is either here or near. It is likely that the global recession has pushed the date off a few years and gives Americans their much-desired (but false) sense of security.

    Natural Gas and coal have longer times until their peak, but even with new shale gas discoveries (regarding which there is significant debate regarding length of high-volume productivity) there are few who would agree with the Potential Gas Committee’s incredibly rosy outlook. The peak of energy derived from coal is probably already past because the high-grade (high-energy) coal is all gone. There is a lot of coal in the US but it yields decreasing amounts of energy. Some pessimists put the likely peak of coal production as soon as 2025, though more common dates are 2035-2040. In either case, it is really not that long.

  3. plo
    0 Votes

    there is coal enough for another 200 yrs and coial and oil will run out in 40 yrs.

    this is beacuse this resources take million s of years to make and we have used that a faster rate than which they could be remade.

  4. 0 Votes

    One of my professors had a very interesting response to this question. He said that we will never run out of coal or gas or oil; they will only get more expensive. If you look at the supply and demand curves on a chart, if demand is high but the supply is low, then the price will be very expensive. 

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